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San Diego supervisors reject Lilac Hills Ranch over wildfire concerns

06/24/20

Read the full article by Joshua Emerson-Smith in the San Diego Union-Tribune here.

County elected officials on Wednesday rejected the proposed Lilac Hills Ranch housing development citing wildfire concerns.

The Board of Supervisors voted four-to-one to reject the more than 1,700-home master-planned community near Valley Center. Supervisor Jim Desmond cast the lone vote in opposition, citing the need for housing.

The development would’ve require amending the county’s general plan, which currently allows for just 110 units to be built on the site.

Lilac Hills has been through numerous incarnations over the last decade and was overwhelming rejected by voters after the developer put it on the 2016 ballot.

The housing developer — formerly Accretive Investments, now called Village Communities — has struggled for years to deal with how it would evacuate a projected 5,000 new residents in the area during an aggressive wind-driven blaze.

Supervisor Nathan Fletcher also mentioned that the project relied on meeting restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions from car and trucks using a county offset program that has been rejected by the courts on multiple occasions.

“The general plan says this is the wrong place,” he said. “The fire chief says this is wrong. The voters have said this is wrong. The courts ... have said the offset scheme associated with general plan amendments are wrong. So how many times and how many different ways over how many years do we have to be told that this just isn’t going to work?”